04/28/2013

The airport comments on the Ali Kafi incident

The airport spokesman, Bertrand Stämpfli, has made a comment on my blog relative to the arrival of Algerian ex-president Ali Kafi


 My original blog was entitled "Geneva airport refuses to admit doctors of Ali Kafi", and can be read HERE.

It appears that Bertrand Stämpfli wished to add a commentary to the blog, but for some reason for which there is currently no explanation I never received an email requesting me to allow it to be included on my blog site. I have stated to the blogmaster, and I repeat it here, that I ALWAYS accept any commentary which is not simply a computer-generated spam.

Mr Stämpfli's log was as follows :-

Airport authorities are of course always interested in feedback and opinions, but when everybody claims to be THE expert knowing better than anybody else what should have been or needs to be done, it quickly becomes annoying.

The statement of ever present and indefatigable blogger Mike Gerard is another example of a "I know it all" expert in airport management.

Geneva Airport never refused to admit any passenger regardless of his status because it is simply not in his duties and responsibilities.

Believing that a call to the airport director to "ask him to authorise an exception" to solve such an issue is either an evidence of naivity or a clear lack of knowledge in applicable rules and regulations.

Maybe one day one of such experts will question why the airport director does not decide on the height of our famous "jet d'eau"?

 I will admit that I found it ironic that for what could have been a serious diplomatic incident, the normally quite loquacious Mr Stämpfli was unable to give any information. If he felt insulted by what I regarded as purely irony, but which might have been understood by a non-anglophone as being something worse, then I apologise to him.

The whole point of my blog was the fact that everyone concerned with what happened professed to have followed standard procedures and to be unable to make any comment. However, some fairly simple common sense suggests that when it is known that an ex head of state of a country with which Switzerland needs to have good relations is due to arrive, seriously ill, in the middle of the night, some warning bells should normally be rung and preparations made.

I will agree that the Director of the airport may not have the authority to allow entry of the three doctors who had not had time to obtain a visa. However, as head of a large international airport used to welcoming foreign dignitaries, he should have a hot line to various authorities, including the Geneva Minister responsible for the airport, the heads of the Geneva police and customs and the federal authorities in Berne. In addition, the senior people involved should have been able to think "outside the box", rather than just following the applicable rules and regulations and ticking the relevant box.

If trying to advocate the use of common sense makes one an expert, then there are very many experts in this world. Unfortunately, there are sometines not enough: try reading a little article, by an unknown author, entitled "Obituary: Common Sense".

To finish on another ironic note, the reference of Mr Stämpfli to the jet d'eau comes not long after his attempts to explain the excessive price of bottled water in the airport boutiques, including the suggestion that we should be pleased to pay these prices because part of the profits come to the airport and help to keep down the passenger departure tax.

In this context it is worth reading the article in Le Courrier of last week, entitled

"Taxe passager : Genève trop attractive?"

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